Dear Indian Australians in Sydney
With the exposure of rorts/scams through the Australian media recently, a significant damage has happened to the image of our community. We can not be happy about it as it is about us. A beginning has to be made to mend/repair the harm to the image and standing of our community.
Recently, a fellow from our community committed suicide in Harris Park, NSW. There were some issues in regards to arranging transportation of the body to India.
Also, recently, a young man died unexpectedly in Sydney. I understand that it was due to a heart illness. The person in question was a heavy drinker and smoker. He was the only son of his parents.
Mental health and cardio-vascular health issues are significant problems in our community.
“Racism” is a much used term which gets used, rightly or wrongly, as an explanation for all sorts of problems. I know one who tried to employ this word when caught travelling on the city rail without a valid ticket!
Basically, we have issues involving health, settlement and leadership in our community which are very relevant for the new arrivals.
For obvious reasons, we will have to do something about these issues. We have to think about the best mechanism/tools to address these issues. We have to help our community where our help is needed. Our community leaders have a special responsibility in this regard.
I do not claim to be “Mr know it all” but I do not mind in speaking my mind. I recognise that others would have good ideas too.
I propose that;
1. we do not encourage the participation of those members of our community who are known to be involved in the exploitation of students or are parts of the scams/rorts, in the social functions/gatherings.
2. we do not support the business owners who fall under the category 1.
3. we have a meeting of community minded people and those who have impeccable integrity with good reputation soon. I propose the United Indian Associations [UIA] president to preside this meeting.
4. we identify those people quickly who are operating as the leaders but have a clear conflict of interest in those matters and ask them to take a back seat.
5. we help set up the system which is there to help our students and Indian Australians when they are in desperate needs for the help. This should include the establishment of a Benevolent Fund.
6. we support UIA to grow and become an effective organisation by discussing, debating, reforming by bringing out the required changes. UIA Constitutional review is long overdue.
7. we urge UIA to become a more open and inclusive organisation by co-opting well-meaning and capable people from outside UIA in its committees.
8. we think about forming a new organisation with the required goals if UIA leaders are not able/wiling to reform UIA to make it a relevant and an effective body.
9. we take a stand against the rorts/scams and ask Australian Gov authorities to stamp out these activities quickly.
10. we start identifying people with leadership qualities and help them reach the places of influences including political offices ie MLAs/MLCs/MPs.
11. we re-energize the leadership by taking a back seat voluntarily if we have been leaders for a long period and have not been contributing meaningfully and encourage others with abilities to take the leadership roles in our associations.
12. we work actively to promote the pan-Indian identity of Indians and discourage the regional identities in Australia.
13. we do everything to promote a better understanding/integration among Indian Australians with themselves and with Australian community in general. The distrust has to go.
14. we work effectively and collaboratively to encourage SBS TV to have the programmes on India/Indian people, based on our numbers, as is the case with other communities.
15. we and Indian Govt Missions work collaboratively to have a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in a prominent place in Sydney and Melbourne.
16. we network, interact, co-ordinate and execute the health education programmes which are relevant to our communities.
Until recently, our Indian Australian community has had a great reputation. We want this reputation restored to our community.
We must promote only those who have a genuine ability to lead, understand the needs of our community and also understand the meaning of “conflict of interest”.
Let the seniors guide us in our goals! Let us learn from their experience and wisdom!
The community has to grow and we have to grow with it!
Let the debate begin!
Dr Yadu Singh